The Ithaca College men’s basketball team defeated the Union College Dutchmen 80–73 Feb. 3 in the Ben Light Gymnasium.
The Bombers were led by graduate student forward Luka Radovich who had a monster performance, putting up 28 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Sophomore guard Logan Wendell also had a huge scoring day, putting up 20 points and four assists in the victory.
The Dutchmen were led by senior guard Mike Manley who had 22 points and 2 steals. Junior forward Edward Baptiset added 17 points.
The Dutchmen quickly jumped in front of the Bombers, going up 7–3 after senior Dutchman guard Justin Regis hit a pull up three with 17:08 remaining in the first half.
The Bombers answered back, pulling the game within one after Wendell scored seven consecutive points, concluding with a contested 3-point make.
With 11:38 left in the first half the Dutchmen began to pull away. Baptiste hit two free throws and then put home a dunk to give the Dutchmen a 21–13 lead.
The Bombers began to crawl back when junior guard Andrew Geschikter fought through contact and put in a layup to make it 29–20 with 8:31 left in the first half. Geschikter immediately followed this with a euro step finish to make it 29–22. The Dutchmen continued to maintain their hot hand and expanded the lead to 40-32 entering halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, senior guard Liam Spellman hit an open corner three that was assisted off a pass from Radovich to make it 42–37 less than a minute into the frame. Spellman then followed it up with a euro step layup to cut the Dutchmen lead to just three.
The Dutchmen extended their lead back to six, but the Bombers came storming back, tying the game 53–53 off a Wendell layup with 12:44 remaining.
The Bombers and Dutchmen traded the lead four times until graduate student guard Zach Warech hit a three with 9:44 remaining to reclaim the lead for the Bombers and make the score 63–61.
Warech’s three marked the last time the Dutchmen led in the game. The Dutchmen tied the game again with 6:33 remaining, but Radovich began to put the Bombers away with a transition layup to put them up 69–66.
Radovich followed this play by making a contested 3-point shot that sent him to the floor. Radovich was given a free throw and converted the 4-point play to make the Bombers’ lead 73–66 with 3:23 remaining.
Wendell put an end to the Dutchmen with a layup in the face of defenders with 45 seconds remaining to make it 77–73.
After a great bounce back in the second half, head coach Waleed Farid said he saw room for improvement, but was proud of the way the team fought back.
“We’re not going to win any games if we keep having to do that in the second half, so the way we’ve been able to play the second half is the way we’ve been playing every game,” Farid said. “We don’t get points for degree of difficulty, but still [a] great way to bounce back, great mentality, way to bounce through adversity.”
With the game being very physical, Farid said he recognized how, in the second half, the Bombers’ more aggressive play gave them the edge.
“I think in the first half [Union was] the more physical team, and we were backing down, that’s why we were getting called for fouls,” Farid said. “The second half, we were a little bit more the aggressor and the whistles started to go our way.”
The Bombers will next play against Skidmore College on Senior Day at 4:00 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Ben Light Gymnasium.